Living Abroad Changes You!
Living abroad brings a new perspective to your life; the dynamic of cultural experience is much deeper than just spending a short period.
Moving to Spain is my second overseas move as a multicultural family. Individually, I have nearly ten moving experiences crossing the borders and continents for half of my life.
Culture shock, reverse culture shocks, and relocating is part of me. Undoubtedly, moving to Spain is the most challenging one I have ever accomplished.
My family comes with a package of two multicultural kids and a mid-size Shiba Inu dog. Increased family size causes an increase in stress, cost, and effort.
Moving to Spain
My multicultural family formed in 2009, Luana and Maya joined me in 2017 and 2019 respectively. I began to consider moving to a city where it is suitable for multicultural kids. We knew Barcelona would be an excellent place for us to embrace multiculturalism and diversity. Most importantly to help my biracial children to develop self-identity by understanding and respect the differences.
While feeling excited about planning a brand new chapter in Spain, how much does it cost for a multicultural family for an international move from Taiwan to Spain? Moving abroad is a significant movement; undoubtedly, financial structures play a vital role in our decision.
We wanted to make sure not to overspend. Still, on the other hand, we would also like to guarantee a smooth transition for all members, which means our financial control has proceeded with an acceptable comfort but not a tight budget method.
I want to share some of those hidden costs we often omitted, and they always sum up becoming a significant expense.
The Cost of Moving to Spain
Moving to Spain is a life-changing event, and we took every step carefully. Waiting for the right moment was critical, and these are a few things we considered.
STAGE ONE : PREPARATION & DECISION
We would like to ensure all family members are ready for the move, which means my younger daughter Maya turns at least one-year-old to complete a one-year vaccination in Taiwan. Also, to make sure I have enough conversation and time to handle the changes with parents.
Find time to say a proper goodbye to family and friends.
Financially must be prepared for an apparent reason, enough saving for overseas moving. Again, we are moving with two toddlers and a pet. Minimizing unwanted problems was our goal too.
Revisit the City
We have traveled to Barcelona several times and also with our multicultural kids once to check how they feel about the environment. During our visits, we reconnect with the local family and friends. Speak with the local authority to understand the government system, such as healthcare, education, job market, and the potential for a multicultural family.
Daniel is the only family member who owns the Spanish citizenship; we began working on the Spanish marriage certificate after moving to Taiwan. Luckily, we have completed the most critical process one year before moving to Barcelona.
STAGE TWO: BEFORE MOVING TO SPAIN
International moving company
Quotation depends on the shipment’s size, shipment distance, and how you would like to be delivered. In general, sea freight is cheaper than airfreight!
Some families may hire a one-stop-shop international mover that provides the service from packing, transport to unpacking; Some families may prefer moving with the maximum airline baggage allowance.
There are two types of “door to door” delivery service in Spain; Door to “at your front door” service vs. Door to “inside your house” service! If you plan to live in an apartment or without extra hands, you may want to hire a service that sends all the boxes into your house.
Shipping supplies and packing material such as tapes, foam paper, and bubble wraps are part of the hidden packing expense.
My quotation from Taiwan to Barcelona, door to full delivery, was around €2000 at a minimum of 100 ft³ (3 m³), pallet, boxes, gas, customs fees, movers, loading, documents, etc. all included. The quotation is not including insurance, duty tax, and warehouse storage fees.
Keep in mind that after your belongings arrive in the new country, if the delivery address and the documents are unable to present for the customs clearance in time, your belongings will remain at the warehouse, and that will incur storage fees.
The airfare or train tickets will depend on the destination and demand.
Plan to move during the low season and buy the tickets as early as possible, because tickets are generally cheaper if purchased well in advance. It is also helpful to check on credit card rewards or airline mileage, you may save some expenses from here.
We monitored the ticket price for about two months and purchased the tickets six months in advance using airline mileages.
Make sure you are mentally and physically ready! Whenever I move to a new place, it always feels like a clock starts ticking from the moment I receive airline tickets confirmation. Mentality shifts to an action mode instantly, and hopes the journey will sail to the other side of the world smoothly!
Pet fees are divided into two main parts: airline fee and pet travel agent.
Make your pet’s flying arrangement via airline customer service and speak to an agent directly to ensure all the requirements are met.
Most likely, you will be paying the pet flying fee at the airport during check-in. KLM Airlines informed us to submit pet’s information, crate size, and to reserve a pet’s space in advance. Again, seek professional if you are not sure about the proper procedure.
One month before departure, expenses such as vaccinations, flea pills, heartworm medicine, pet microchip, and grooming before departure.
Check with the agent if the flight-approved crate is including in the service. If not, ask for an appropriate crate size for your pet.
In general, moving abroad requires a large number of official papers. Many of them demand signatures and notarized from official government units. The price of notarizing official documents and applying for a new passport can be high in some countries.
The translation fee takes a significant portion of the document fee since they are presented in different languages. Moving to Spain means to localized all the documents to Spanish; materials that need to be translated by a certified official translator are birth certificates, marriage certificates, criminal records, medical records, etc.
Have your legal and financial documents ready and in order. The incomplete or insufficient material will impact the process of receiving a formal ID in the new country. You will spend time and money on international mailing, communicating with different parties, signing power of attorney (if there is anyone), scheduling with the consulate, and so forth.
Will you be breaking the lease if you are currently renting an apartment?
If you own a property, the costs of selling a current property can be high.
Move out fees such as rubbish removal, furniture removal, maintenance, and repair.
Spain offers local public schools, private schools, and an international school. We have decided to go for an international nursery school, where our multicultural kids can receive enough diverse exposure. The application and registration fee was paid to secure the position in advance before moving to Spain.
Clear all the outstanding bills such as phone, internet, cable, utilities, insurance, credit card, medication bills.
Leave with no debt! Clear out government tax and fine!
Prepaid SIM card, commute arrangement to the airport, medication expenses such as vaccinations updates and body checkups.
STAGE THREE: AFTER MOVING TO SPAIN
Spain provides public health care. However, if you are on your way to the USA, this category may be very different. Although the Spanish health care system is well planned, it still requires foreigners to obtain private health insurance before applying for a local residence permit.
Short-term apartment rental
Instead of renting an apartment from Taiwan, worrying about not seeing the site at first, not knowing the neighborhood, connecting the utilities, buying a mattress, and basic needs on our first day. Not to mention in some cities, you will need a proper local ID, job proof, and local bank information to rent a long-term apartment. We have decided to start with a short-term rental first for a few weeks after moving to Spain
Short term leasing is usually higher. But it guarantees your family a single place to rest and allow yourself to take a deep breath before starting another brand new stage.
Long-term Apartment rental
Long-term apartment rental in Barcelona requires a security deposit, which is usually equivalent to 2-3 months rental. Don’t forget the broker fee if there’s any.
Move-in fees are furniture, wifi setup, changing the locks, fixing the damage, unit inspections, apartment cleanup, and condo fee if applicable.
Transportation cost doesn’t stop just because you have arrived in the new city. We have arrived in Barcelona with two adults, two toddlers, one mid-size dog inside a crate, with four large pieces of luggage at midnight! We have prearranged a driver pickup before leaving Taiwan to avoid wandering around in the airport.
Barcelona is relatively easy to navigate around by public transportation. Public transportation and walking are the cheapest way to get around the new city. The only time we had to arrange another taxi was to move all our belongings from the short term rental to our new long-term apartment.
An immigration lawyer is the best option to deal with bureaucracy based on our experiences, and you may feel expensive to hire one. But the lawyer can provide professional knowledge, speed up the process, and most likely save you money from the mistakes; Residence permits are usually granted with access to the labor market. It takes time to apply one. If you are a double income family, obtaining work authorization as soon as possible is crucial.
Before school, parents will usually be asked to prepare a few things in advance, such as kid-size mattresses, bedsheets, school uniforms, school bags, water bottles, and more. Parents will be either paying a monthly or annual tuition after entering the school.
Basic needs, new phone numbers, food, and beverages. Children’s food, milk, and supply.
Total moving oversea costs can range from €5,000 to €15,000 for a family of four and a pet. The most important tip for an international moving with toddlers and a pet is to take time planning. Be prepared. The fewer mistakes during the process mean less unnecessary expenses.